It's been about two weeks now, two weeks since Out of the Shadows came out (available here on Amazon). I'm really excited that this book is now in the world. I really love the series and the characters and writing it and everything. I am also disappointed, though.
[Deep breath] This part is really hard for me. So I did all the things you're supposed to do, the social media promotion, the giveaway, the special pre-order pricing, all of that. And come release day, I had about seven preorders in total. Seven. That's between Kindle and print books. I gotta be honest, that hurts. That hurts a lot.
I share this information not to try and garner pity, but to be really transparent about what it's like to be an independent author. I have released all of three books, the first of which I did approximately zero promotion for, so that makes it more like two books (in promotion time anyway). When it's just you in the great big world of books and writers, that's not actually too surprising. There is no team of PR people fighting to get you a display up in bookstores, no advertising team with a big budget to plaster your ads all across the internet. It is just you. And you know what? As discouraging as only seven books is, I'm not going to quit. And, if you're an independent author, you shouldn't either. Why? Because you love writing. Don't give up on what you love. Period.
Right, really difficult vulnerable part done. So what else is going on? Oh, here's a bit for you all, dear readers. NaNoWriMo! Also known as National Novel Writing Month. Who's participating out there? Hit me up because I am too! Send me a message on Goodreads or wherever you're reading this, add me as your writing buddy (I will add you back) on NaNoWriMo's website, whatever. Let's connect. I want to hear how your journey is going.
As for me, here's what NaNoWriMo has taught me thus far...
-Discipline: Writing just under 2,000 words per day is a job. It's not a huge job if you just sit down and do it, but that's the thing. You have to make yourself do it, even when you don't want to. I fell way behind in week one and had to make up about 8,000 words. I committed to doing it in one day. That was really difficult. I didn't want to do it. I wanted to do anything else, especially as I didn't really hit a good stride until about halfway in. I did it, though, which made every day after that much easier, especially as I really didn't want to have to play catch-up again.
-Dedication: Why am I doing this? It doesn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Nobody cares. No one is looking over my shoulder. I'm not getting graded on this. But I made a commitment to myself. I told people via social media I was going to do it (see blog preview picture. If you know me, you know how I am about commitments. Even if you promise to just give me a cookie, you better darn well look like giving me a freakin' cookie! Lest I think you're a liar and a hypocrite. Also, cookies are serious business. And I am not a liar or a hypocrite, so I'm getting this writing done!
-Creativity: Duh. Of course. Writing is by its very nature creative. Yeah, I know, but what I mean is in the craft of writing, how to build out your story. This one I can only half take credit for, as I had been kind of doing it and then was reminded about it from a helpful article (apologies, I've since lost the link and forgotten from whence it came) after I stopped. So you know what's a great way to pad out your story and add depth? Scenery, my old nemesis. I am really not great with describing a setting. The best that can be said of my scene setting is that I do it adequately. I get the job done to the minimum requirements and that's it (though I sometimes lie to myself and say that I'm leaving things to the reader's imagination). I don't think anyone could honestly describe my scene-setting as "rich", but that's why NaNoWriMo is so great. It's the perfect opportunity to sharpen those skills. Need some words? Write some setting descriptions. For every new area, write a paragraph describing what it's like there. And, mini-spoiler alert, my story has the added advantage of being able to have musical scores described as well.
That's what I know so far. I'd love to hear what your NaNoWriMo experience has been so far. Thanks for reading!